It makes a good movie plot: the beneficiary of a wealthy relative devising a well thought out murder sure to never be solved. Yet this isn't just the stuff fiction is made of.
Contrary to popular belief, disinheriting someone-- that is, removing them from a will-- is not necessarily an act of betrayal or hatred. In fact, disinheriting relatives is surprisingly common, and it happens for a number of reasons. Some New Jersey parents, for example, may remove one child from their will because they want to be able to give more to another child, who may be struggling financially.
Our Bergen County readers may remember the news which came last July of the death of English singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse, who tragically died of alcohol poisoning. According to recently released probate records, Winehouse had about 4.6 million in U.S. dollars to her name, after taxes. Winehouse, it has been revealed, died without a will, and consequently her entire estate will be going to her parents.
Inheritance can be a tricky issue in more than one way. There are often hard feelings and rivalry often at play in decisions about who gets what or how much and how they will spend or use their inheritance. There are also practical considerations concerning the potential for complications down the road. Among those who may become problem heirs are adult children, caregivers, and children-in-law.
In our last post, we began looking the issue of uneven inheritances between children and what estate planning options a couple has in a situation where one child is not considered trustworthy enough to be left with significant amounts of property.
When it comes to leaving inheritances to children, problems can arise around the issues of fairness and trust. Which child should receive what? How much should each child receive? With what can each child be reasonably entrusted?